What is my truth about Airbnb and Covid -19
Dear hosts, I hope that wherever you are everyone is safe, healthy, and with clean hands. Remember 20 seconds dear hosts. 20 seconds. In today’s episode I want to discuss What is MY truth about Airbnb and Covid-19, I’m also going to discuss a bit about some lessons I’ve learned from the past, because we need to look back to figure out what we’re doing in the future. So stay tuned to “What’s my truth?”

Right Now:

I’m in Puerto Rico where the Governor, Wanda Vazques on Sunday, March 15th implemented a strict curfew to help flatten the Covid-19 curve.

We’re on day 7 of our social distancing & self-isolation which for me is just another work week and for Javier is heaven. We’re only allowed to go to the supermarket, pharmacy, gas station and the bank. We can also check in with our older relatives.

I go and check-in with my mom every couple of days because she is a flight risk. The woman loves to go out. The movies, to see a show, a play, every other day she goes out for breakfast. Mom lives alone and is a social butterfly, I get it.

I’m telling you it isn’t the young people, it is the older folks wanting to go to the panaderia for their coffee. But we have to keep them safe, so Javier installed a Roku with Netflix and showed my Mom how to hotspot from her phone.

Yes, she doesn’t have the internet in her home. We hope she watches Casa de Papel and other shows. Our curfew in Puerto Rico is supposed to end on March 31st, but they have confirmed more cases since we started. We went from 5 to now 23 confirmed cases. Most of them are from people that traveled here.

La Casita in Puerto Rico:

Our last guest arrived on Sunday as the curfew started, they knew about it and decided to continue with their trip. We only saw them as we waved goodbye on Tuesday as they were checking out, leaving for another part of the island.

We blocked off La Casita for a couple days, not wanting to deal with disinfecting and sanitising. Plus, I was getting ready for the upcoming masterclass: How to Deal with Cancellations. 

About an hour before my class, on Thursday, I got a notification for a reservation request from someone who wanted to check-in that night.

La Casita wasn’t ready and I told them so, but they were insistent.

I also thought how could you at 6 pm not have a place to stay when we go into our strong curfew at 9 o’clock at night. We declined the week reservation, my hosting spidey sense was at 11.

Was I judging?

Of course, I’m. But you can’t be too careful.

We’re only going to my mom’s home or to pick up Javier’s son. We did our food shopping before the curfew started. We’re home and not going out unless it’s necessary.

Javier and I believe in flattening the curve.

Because of this reservation request, Javier and I decided to block La Casita in Puerto Rico’s calendar until the Governor lifts the curfew.

Thankfully we don’t need La Casita’s income right now. New York, well, that’s another story…What is Flattening the Curve?

Health practitioners are stating that hundreds of thousands of infections will occur, but they don’t want them to happen all at once.

The healthcare system will become overwhelmed and won’t be able to handle it.

There aren’t enough beds, ventilators or even doctors and nurses to take care of the sick people.

That’s part of the reason for social distancing. This spreads the infections out over time. Let’s do our part.

Eveland NY:

New York has so many confirmed cases that I don’t even know what to think anymore. They’re just starting to close down the city but that’s a lot harder to do than in Puerto Rico.

My calendar got cleaned up with cancellations but I also have reservations from a neighbor who wanted her kids close by. They booked for one week and then extended it until the end of March. Then I got another two-week booking from someone who needs to work from home but wants a bigger place since he has roommates.

Yes, my prices are lower but my goal is to pay my mortgage. And to keep my head above water. That’s it. Nothing fancy.

Alternative Reservations:

In addition, I’m also looking at traveling nurses as an alternative market. The healthcare community is getting cancelled by hosts from fear of contamination. I totally understand but as hosts you can take precautions and clean out your space. Remember that nurses and doctors are taking care of us. They can’t worry about where to sleep.

If you want to know more about the Travel Nurse market listen to Episode 60: The Travel Nurse Market Everything You Need To Know

In my Facebook Group The Hosting Journey, hosts with spaces in rural areas are also getting reservations from families and young couples who want to escape the cities. They know they will be working remotely so they want to do it in a different place.

My hospitality person in NY and I decided to remove all curtains, decorative pillows, and throws. Anything that doesn’t get pre-wash all the time. I’m also going to be closing every listing for 24 hours in-between reservations before my hospitality person goes into the house.

Am I being paranoid or over-cautious? Yes and yes. I want to make sure she is safe.

I’m going to have Tammi Sims from Properly in a future episode because her company created an entire protocol & checklist for cleaning and disinfecting the host’s properties.

Lessons from the Past:

Hosts I have been following this coronavirus Covid-19 since January. Back then I sent an email to the Airbnb founders to find out if they were going to make a statement about what was going in China.

I waited to make my first podcast episode about this epidemic at that time because I didn’t want to sound alarmist. I have gone through all the feels about this. All of the feels.

Worry, Sadness, angst and more worry. But I also know that worry will not resolve anything. I’ll just be worried.

Dear hosts, I wake up at 3 in the morning and lay there thinking and trying not to worry. Sometimes I get out of bed so I don’t disturb Javier, meditate, answer some emails, check my bank balance, read the news. And worry…

Work in my mind. I remember 2009.. The big recession from back then. Remember that I survived, the lessons I learned. I’m doing some of the same things, now.

Just in case you don’t remember I just did a huge construction job and had about 7k of construction work on a credit card. I was ready to pay it off because in March I had the money, and reservations. I normally pay my credit cards in full every month and I was about to do the same this month.

I called my credit card company and got a zero interest rate on the balance. It was worth the call dear hosts. Try it. You have nothing to lose.

But I decided… let me keep that cash. To use it and and pay it off throughout the year.

This is something I did back then in 2009. Since then, the only debt I carry is my mortgage and maybe some construction but I always pay it off. Smart or not, that’s how I like to play it.

I have enough savings that I can close down Eveland for a few months, but only if I have to. I don’t want to leave myself with no savings.

I don’t get any bailouts from the government, or Airbnb, nor unemployment. It’s me, with what I have. I’m not complaining. Just stating the facts.

I also know that back in 2009 I found Airbnb at my darkest hour and I got my first reservation and then another.

I’m managing my mind about this situation and have a strategy for the next couple of months. Because I will survive. I did then and I will now.

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